Kona Shows Off New MinUte 2012 Prototype
If you didn’t already know, cargo bikes are pretty awesome. Essentially, they are purpose built bikes for commuting, but commuting with a lot of stuff. Whether it’s going to the grocery store and carrying back two weeks worth of provisions, or taking a trip to the hardware store to bring home tools and building supplies, the challenge with a cargo bike isn’t figuring out what you can carry, it’s trying to find out what you can’t take with you.
That’s not to say that Cargo bikes don’t have their little quirks. Most of them, even cargo bikes that have been converted with an Xtracycle Kit, tend to have an extra long wheelbase which is great for hauling heavy loads, but not so great for bike storage, finding appropriate space on a bike rack, or transporting the bike while you aren’t riding it.
Kona of course, has offered their well liked Ute for a few years now, and while a true workhorse, maybe you don’t plan on carrying a huge load of lumber on your bike. Even so, you still would like a purpose built cargo bike with an integrated rack that’s strong like bull, but offers a shorter wheel base. If so, you just may be interested in the new Kona MinUte…
Read on after the break!
As gas prices continue to rise, there seems to be a direct correlation between more Americans actually looking towards the bicycle as a tool that they can use to complete simple errands. However, in order for most people to take the option seriously, using a bicycle for transportation has to be easy, and it can’t be hugely expensive. Now, if you’ve spent much time in a bike shop, you know that the average consumer won’t view the MinUte’s $799 price tag as cheap, but the experienced cyclist looking for a decked out commuting tool just may. While this is still a prototype, Kona claims that the MinUte will ship with two panniers, and if it also includes fenders and the burly center stand, the MinUte will be quite a bargain that is ready to roll right out of the box, save for a couple of lights. ($799 for US and Canada, European price TBD)
While the shorter wheelbase should help smaller riders manage the MinUte in tight spaces when fully loaded, the lowered top tube should also greatly improve standover height allowing riders to most likely place both feet on the ground comfortably when at a stop.
In order to try and make the MinUte as comfortable as possible, Kona plans to spec the bike with a comfortable swept back HandPlant handlebar, which should put the rider’s hands in a natural, upright position.
While it isn’t clear whether or not the MinUte will need the length of two chains like some cargo bikes, the shortened wheel base will certainly require less chain than the alternative. There is a good chance as well that the MinUte will not need tandem length cables, which will save costs on maintenance and prevent having to track down extra long cables. Kona states that the MinUte will ship with a 16 speed drivetrain, which will presumably consist of a double crank with bash guard, along with an 8 speed cassette which will also keep maintenance costs down in the future.
Just how much can you haul aboard the MinUte? Well, the rack is rated to 100 pounds, which is about double compared with most traditional bolt on racks. Which means, you could carry a lot of pizza, groceries, tools, etc, and still do it all on your bike!